Altair, Dell, and Intel Collaborate on Benchmark Drop Testing Study

Similar to how a newly designed vehicle goes through crash testing to improve the robustness of its design to protect drivers and passengers, electronic devices like cell phones and laptops undergo drop testing, or impact analysis. Physical and virtual testing helps designers, engineers, and manufacturers enhance product quality and performance to withstand impact in various real-world scenarios. Simulation helps to shorten time-to-market and enables more design exploration. Recently, Dell, Intel, and Altair collaborated to accurately simulate a virtual drop test for the electronics industry.

According to SquareTrade, Americans have spent $5.9 billion on damaged iPhones. Mobile devices have become a huge part of our lives, and inevitably, are dropped occasionally. Impact analysis, or drop testing, is an important stage of product design and development. Manufacturers must ensure that a dropped, crushed, or permanently damaged product can still perform after the accident. As a result, drop test software must replicate multiple complex physical environments and materials, simulate the drop, and then provide detailed technical information about product performance during the drop.

While drop test software is a direct descendant of car crash modeling technology, the unique challenges of phone drop testing cannot be fully addressed by existing models. The phone assembly techniques, parts, and materials are completely different and must be carefully analyzed. Subsequently, engineers must manually set up the model, analysis, and post-processing, lengthening the product development cycle. The electronics industry is in need of a fast, accurate, and flexible solver that allows engineers and designers to optimize a product that can withstand all drop angles. Dell, Intel, and Altair recently collaborated to test Altair’s drop test simulation software solution on a Dell cluster powered by Intel processors.

The Altair Drop Testing Solution includes modeling, analysis and optimization software – RADIOSS®, HyperMesh®, and HyperStudy® — all part of the comprehensive computer-aided engineering (CAE) HyperWorks® suite. In addition, the solution leverages workload management software for high-performance computing (HPC) job scheduling in the form of PBS Professional®. In a previous study, Altair was able to reduce drop test runtimes from 65 minutes to 36 minutes, a dramatic 45% improvement!

The Dell PowerEdge M620 blade server based on the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600v2 provides another building block and HPC enabler. These processors have faster memory and 50% more cores and cache, as well as the capability to harness the power of HPC technology for optimization and product innovation.

In conclusion, engineers were able to perform 21 drop test simulations on 3 different Intel processors, allowing the completion of the entire optimization study in less than 4 hours. This performance was 6 times faster than other simulation software. Also, the simulation test registered lower energy consumption, making it energy efficient and high performance. As a result, manufacturers can now significantly reduce development time and increase the number of design iterations while improving product quality and reducing time-to-market.

Intersect360 Research, a market intelligence, research and consulting firm, recently published an overview of the project on a drop testing podcast with Altair, Dell, and Intel. Intersect 360 focuses on providing industry suppliers, users, and policy makers with knowledge, trends, and insights from the HPC industry.

“When you use software from Altair like RADIOSS… you can really achieve the best, most robust design in terms of drop-testing before you actually produce any kind of prototype and you save a lot of time, as well as cost.”

– Director of Technical Computing EMEA at Intel.

“Workstation users have a need for HPC…the RADIOSS solver has excellent scalability.”

– Martin Hilgeman, HPC Consultant EMEA at Dell.

Click here to find out more about the project!

Molly Heskitt
Molly Heskitt

About Molly Heskitt

As Senior Director of Business Development for Altair, Molly has global responsibility for the electronics and maritime industries. She works with global electronics and maritime companies and industry experts and organizations to help align the company’s advanced technologies to address industries-specific challenges, with the goal of making Altair’s customers the most competitive. Prior to joining Altair, Molly was an Associate Professor in China, where she conducted research and taught courses with a heavy emphasis on product design and manufacturing engineering. She joined Altair in 2000 and held various engineering roles prior to assuming her current position. Molly holds a Master of Science degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Jilin University in China, and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Wayne State University in Michigan, USA.